Don’t Fall for Autumn Insects

Our world is filled with little creatures searching for protection as the temperatures outside get colder. It is important to know what insects to watch out for as the season changes and the insects seek shelter, often times in our gardens and our homes.

1) Yellow Jackets – Yellow jackets are notorious for surfacing in autumn. They spend the summer building up their colony and as the weather cools, they are forced to abandon their nest and that is why we see so many of them as temperatures drop. They are eager to gather food and they aggressively prepare for winter. However, the majority of the worker bees don’t make it through winter months. Some of the queens will last through the winter if they find appropriate shelter in buildings or tree bark, which is why it’s important to keep them away from your home.

2) Bagworms – Bagworms are a type of caterpillar that become plentiful in the fall, especially in gardens. They are only about 2.5 inches long and brown or black in color. They typically find refuge in evergreen branches or hanging onto the bottom of porches once autumn hits. They spin a spindle-shaped bag around themselves as a shield to protect them from predators and elements.

63089055 - brown stink bug in kyoto, japan3) Stink Bugs – Stink bugs exist throughout the summer months but they start searching for shelter when the temperatures drop, as many insects do. In the fall, they are constantly seeking out homes and hiding places. They seek shelter within the walls of houses and they go after soft fruits and produce, which are typically found in our kitchens making the kitchen a big target for stink bugs. Stink bug infestations increase when crops have been harvested, which is why they start to invade in the fall.

4) Slugs – Slugs become a pressing issue in the fall, especially for gardens.  Slugs lay sixty percent of their eggs in the fall, making them an active insect as the seasons change. They seek out fruits, vegetables, and pansy petals. Slugs desire dark and moist places, otherwise they would die from getting dried out. Water your garden earlier in the day so it is not inviting for slugs once night falls.

These are just a few of the insects that give us issues in the fall. If you believe that you have an insect or pest problem and need assistance handling it, contact Comfort Pest Control and learn how we can take care of it for you.

Protect Your Home from Pests this Spring

cleaning backyard in springAfter a beautiful spring weekend here in Western New York, unwanted pests like ants, spiders and silverfish are sure to have begun foraging around your yard, searching for ways into your home. And unless you want bugs raiding the snack drawer in your kitchen, it’s time to employ some preventative measures to ensure an insect-free season.

Clear Your Perimeter

The first and easiest step you can take to prevent insects from getting into your home is clear the area around the perimeter of your home. Shade, moisture and plant growth will all attract insects, making your home a target for these unwanted visitors.

We recommend starting your spring cleaning by clearing away any weeds, sticks and debris that have gathered against your foundation during the cold winter months, preventing ants from establishing their colonies near to your house.

Once insects are centrally located near your home, it is only a matter of time until they find a hole they can enter through, ensuring trouble for your family and woodwork.

Seal Up Entrances

As you are cleaning up around your home’s exterior this spring, pay close attention to the areas around your windows and doors, looking for cracks in their seals as well as holes in screens. Sealing up cracks and replacing screens will help to keep bugs at bay, warding off insects from the interior of your home.

Use a Dehumidifier

The summer heat causes many basements to get damp, creating the perfect breeding ground for insects like silverfish. Remove excess moisture and prevent these creepy crawlers from enjoying your space with a dehumidifier. Also take some time to clean up boxes around the basement to eliminate dark hiding spots critters would like to hide in.

Call An Exterminator

For an extra layer of protection from insect pests, Comfort Pest Control offers exterior barrier applications as needed. Available in the spring, summer and fall months, give us a call at 716-366-2120 to let us know what type of protection you need and we will provide it!

Have You Found Carpenter Ants This Winter?

carpenter ants indoorsThe sight of carpenter ants inside your home during the winter is never a good thing, as the weather is much too cold and the snow much too treacherous for them to have made their way in from the outdoors. So what does the appearance of these creepy, crawly creatures mean? You may be facing an infestation.

Where Are the Carpenter Arts Coming From?

If you find carpenter ants inside your home during the cold winter months, chances are that they were already dwelling inside – in door frames, windowsills and other areas where moist wood can be found. And while colonies of ants hibernate throughout the winter, the odd sunny day or heat from a fireplace or furnace can cause them to wake up, thinking it is spring. It is when the colony residing in your home accidentally awakes that you will catch a few insects skittering about in search of food.

How Can You Stop Carpenter Ants?

Especially during the winter months, it can be difficult to find a colony of carpenter ants residing in your home. Since so few of the insects are out and about, and fluctuating temperatures are putting them back to sleep, you may not be able to distinguish where they are coming from, which is why it is important to call an exterminator.

Able to cause an exponential amount of structural damage, it is important to stop carpenter ants in their tracks as soon as you see them – even if there is snow on the ground. If you have found these insects in your Dunkirk area home, don’t hesitate to contact Comfort Pest Control at 716-366-2120 for help.

Arthropods are everywhere, but there is no need to worry!

gall midgesA recent article from The Atlantic has uncovered some interesting information about bugs – arthropods in particular – that can be found throughout our home. Unlike the carpenter ants, bed bugs and roaches that can harm us or our houses, most arthropods are not pests. Instead, these hard-shelled critters live in harmony with us, going undetected by all but the keenest naturalists.

Insects and microorganisms have lived alongside humans for millions of years, and as our housing has developed, so have the expansive variety of arthropod species. Led by Matthew Bertone, a team of entomologists decided to take a systematic census to determine how many different types of arthropods could be found across 50 different homes in Raleigh, North Carolina.

“Each home had between 32 and 211 species, belonging to between 24 and 128 families.”

Much to our surprise, and probably the surprise of the homes’ residents, more than 10,000 specimens were found as Bertone and his group searched room by room with headlamps, forceps and nets. From cobweb spiders and cellar spiders to gall midges, almost all of the tiny tenants found within the homes were harmless and rarely, if ever, noticed by their human cohabitants.

“…in terms of benign or beneficial insects in the home, we know next to nothing,” notes Emily Hartop of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles.

So instead of worrying about what you can do to keep all insect-life out of your home as you are lying in bed at night, consider just how incredible it is that these itty bitty life forms have lived alongside us for hundreds of thousands of years, working in harmony and going almost totally unnoticed.

And if you happen to come across an insect pest in your Dunkirk area home while searching for arthropods, contact Comfort Pest Control at 716-366-2120 to have the problem dealt with right away.

Prevent Bats from Entering Your Home

bat hanging A strange and unique mammal that flies through the night snacking on bugs, the bat has earned a bad reputation for being a dangerous and frightening creature that will suck your blood or land in your hair. In all actuality, bats are just as afraid of us as we are of them. Which means it is extremely unlikely that you will find one flapping around your living room when you get home from work.

You may, however, find a bat nestled up in your attic, enjoying the warmth, dark and safety that your home provides – especially during the winter.

Seal Your Home

To prevent bats from roosting in your attic, the first thing that you should do is check for cracks and gaps in your roofing. Bats can squeeze their way into extremely small holes, so don’t skip over and spots when sealing your home up. Once a colony of bats have made their way inside, sealing the cracks up will only force them to find another way out, usually leading to a swarm of terrified critters flying around your house.

Cover the Chimney

Bats are also known to take up residence in chimneys, which can easily lead to a furry, flying creature interrupting your dinner when it mistakenly flies all the way into the house. To prevent from this scare, we recommend installing a chimney cover which will keep out bats and any other pests that try to make their way inside. The winter is the most common time for pests to venture indoors, since our homes offer a warm escape from the snow and freezing temperatures outside.

Look for Warning Signs

Whether you had a run in with a bat in your house or think you have heard wings flapping above your head, check for warning signs and call an exterminator right away. While bats are not vicious creatures, they can be carriers of diseases like rabies and Histoplasmosis.

Bats are extremely quiet creatures, and the most common sign you will find is the droppings that will accumulate where they are entering your house. If you see evidence of bats in your Dunkirk area home, contact Comfort Pest Control at 716-366-2120.

Tips for Raccoon-Proofing Your Home

raccoon in garbageWhen most people think of pest control, they think of ants, spiders and the occasional mouse or rat. Animals like raccoons are also known to cause problems, especially as the weather gets chilly and they start looking for a cozy place to escape the snow. Nocturnal critters that make themselves at home in attics and under porches, raccoons are also the wild animal most commonly carrying rabies. The first line of defense against these pests is prevention. Raccoons love squeezing down chimneys and raiding the garbage, so take the proper steps to keep them out of your home and yard.

Close Off the Chimney

As you head to the roof to clean out gutters and hang Christmas lights this December, we recommend covering your chimney with a chimney cap as well. These covers will prevent raccoons from gaining access to your home while allowing smoke to escape when you light a fire. You can also trim back branches on nearby trees to keep pests off of your roof altogether.

Inspect Your Home’s Exterior

Raccoons have been known to enter homes through a variety of spaces, including vents and holes as small as a baseball. Take some time to inspect the outside of your home for cracks and holes in the foundation and soffits, fixing those that you come across to prevent unwanted guests from sneaking inside. Install screens to cover outdoor vents as well, checking them regularly to make sure no one has broken through.

Properly Seal Trash Cans

From dog food to garbage, raccoons are scavengers that will eat almost anything! If your trash cans are being tipped over and raided in the evenings, place a brick on top of each can, switch to ones that lock shut or start keeping them in your (well sealed) garage. If raccoons are unable to get into your home and garbage, they will move on to somewhere they can gain access to.

If you see signs of damage to the outside of your Dunkirk, New York home or hear the critters moving about in your attic, call Comfort Pest Control at 716-366-2120 today. Our technicians are available at all times for all of your pest emergencies.

Keep Stink Bugs from Invading Your Home this Winter

stink bug infestationA common pest across the country, stink bugs are often spotted in homes as the weather grows cooler in the fall months. As winter approaches, stink bugs head toward our warm abodes to find a cozy place to hide from the snow and freezing temperatures. Named for the smelly odor that they emanate, the stink bug is rather large in size, making them a quite the nuisance for homeowners. While you may not see many stink bugs during the winter, they will pop their heads up on warm days and will come out in full force as the grass begins popping up through the snow next spring. Luckily, there are a few preventative steps that can be taken to keep stink bugs and other winter pests out of your home.

Seal Up Cracks and Crevices

The easiest way to keep stink bugs out of your house this winter is to seal up any cracks and crevices on the exterior of your home. Pests can weasel their way into even the smallest of spaces, so take some time to walk the perimeter of your home this fall, paying special attention to the cracks around your doors and windows. Seal these spaces up with caulk or weather stripping to prevent further infestation. Also remember to seal your attic up tight, placing a cover on the chimney and using screens to cover vents. Once your home is sealed up tight, it is time to deal with the critters that have already made their way indoors.

Don’t Squish the Bugs

The worst thing about the stink bug is the odor it emits when killed. Instead of squishing these bugs like you would with any other insect pest, we recommend catching them and flushing them down the toilet or vacuuming them up. If you choose to use a vacuum, be sure changing the bag immediately after use to prevent odors from clinging to your machine. Also, throw the used bag in the trash outside to keep the stench away from your home.

If you are experiencing a stink bug infestation this fall, don’t hesitate to contact Comfort Pest Control. Located in Dunkirk, New York, our phone number is 716-366-2120.

Advice for Winter Pest Control

winter pest control As December approaches and snow begins to fall in the Dunkirk, New York area, pests like bees and mosquitoes go into hibernation, making many homeowners think that pest control is not needed during the winter months. Unfortunately, there are many other critters that may be crawling underfoot this season, looking to escape from the chilly weather outdoors. Rodents and spiders are both known to migrate inside as the weather grows cold, making it important to keep your home protected. You don’t want a mouse making an appearance at your annual holiday party!

Firewood Storage

For families that heat their home with a wood burning stove or fireplace, firewood is a necessity in the winter. It also creates a cozy location for critters like mice and ants to make their nests. To prevent these pests from gaining access to your home, we recommend keeping your firewood pile at least 20 feet from the house.

Leaky Pipes

Cockroaches are another common cold-weather pest that can trigger allergies and worsen asthma symptoms. Often found in kitchens and bathrooms, these pests love warm, damp areas and can often be found under appliances and sinks. Perform a thorough check of your home this season, tightening leaky pipes to keep cockroaches from making themselves at home.

Cover your Chimney

As you are decorating the outside of your home this holiday season, take some time to protect it from pests as well. A mesh cover or chimney cap can be installed to keep squirrels and raccoons from making their way indoors. Homeowners should also trim back bushes and trees, preventing these animals from getting access to your roof.

Whether you find a pest in your home or are interested in taking preventative measures to keep them out this winter, contact Comfort Pest Control online or by phone at 716-366-2120 today!

Cluster Flies and Houseflies: What’s the Difference?

Cluster FliesMost of us are all too familiar with houseflies. When one shows up here or there, we’re willing to pass it off as a minor nuisance, shooing or swatting it away. Most often, we don’t look close enough to determine if, in fact, the insect is indeed an ordinary house fly.  That flying, buzzing annoyance might actually be a cluster fly.

So what is a cluster fly anyway? As mentioned, they look quite similar to houseflies. They might spend their winter in your walls, attic or basement. You may have no clue that they’ve taken up residence in your home for the winter.

Come spring, and the warmer Western New York weather, cluster flies will appear inside your home, suddenly visible to you and yours. How did those little buggers get in your house in the first place, you wonder? Like many pests, they most likely entered through small cracks and openings in your home’s exterior. Try as we might to keep them out, crafty cluster flies have a way of finding their way in.

Next time you see one or more flies buzzing around, take a closer look and keep the following things in mind to determine whether or not you’re dealing with cluster flies.:

  • They are a bit larger than a typical housefly, with a black or silver-checkered body.
  • They have wings that overlap when resting (house fly wings remain separated).
  • They are a mellower version of a house fly—not nearly as frantic.
  • They tend to stay near windows, attracted to the light outside.
  • They have a signature scent when squashed.

 

Cluster flies don’t use your house to reproduce in these springtime months, and they don’t carry disease. However, this is small consolation for someone dealing with an infestation and the disgusting waste left behind.

Cluster flies may just want to escape your house after the long winter—can you blame them? Sometimes it takes a professional pest control service to help them find their way out. Then, when Fall rolls back around, a program can be put in place to prevent cluster flies from using your home as a winter resort to begin with.

 

Whatever type of fly you happen to be dealing with, get in touch with the exterminators at Comfort Pest Control to learn what they can do to alleviate the problem.

 

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Comfort Pest Control: Seasonal Maintenance Programs for Ants and Spiders

Seasonal Maintenance for Ants and SpidersDid you ever notice that when the temperature changes in and around the outside of the house Carpenter Ants and Pavement Ants start to appear from all directions in the house and it might be the middle of winter? This means there is a nest inside the structure that has emerged from dormancy which needs attention.

For the home that seems to incur an onslaught of pest activity at certain times of year, a seasonal maintenance program can be the most efficient and effective way to address problem. Ant and spider populations go through natural cycles, especially profound in highly seasonal areas like Western, NY. Seasonal Maintenance Programs allow you to beat pests to the punch, eliminating unwelcome house guests before the situation gets out of control, requiring more drastic measures.

Carpenter Ants and Pavement Ants, the two most common types of ants in Western New York, form mating swarms each year. This occurs sometime between late spring and early summer. After mating, the males die and the queens embark on a search for a good nesting spot. Most are killed in the process, but when a queen survives, she begins laying eggs that will eventually turn into workers. They begin foraging for food, quite possibly in your home, and their numbers continue to grow until the nest dies off for the most part. Ants survive the winter by burying themselves deep underground or, in the worst case, in the wood that makes up your home.

The seasonal activity of spiders is different. Because they are dependent on other insects for food, their populations grow or shrink accordingly. Outdoor spiders tend to reproduce most in the Spring, growing throughout the Summer. At the end of the Summer, the mature offspring, attracted by increased moisture and the prospects of a mate, tend to find their way into the home in larger numbers.

In the cases of both ants and spiders, interrupting their seasonal and reproductive activity can be extremely effective in preventing a home infestation. At Comfort Pest Control, we have an intimate understanding of the behavior of pests, including where to find their source. If you’re in the Western New York or Northwestern Pennsylvania area and need an exterminator to address a pest problem before it gets out of control, contact Comfort Pest Control today.